Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Texas Chute Out

{Photo taken Summer 2012}

Today marks the end of an era.  The Texas Chute Out parachute ride at Six Flags Over Texas is going to be imploded to make way for a bigger, better sky swing ride.   According to the news reports this morning it's not really being imploded.  It's just being taken down like a tree.  It's just going to fall over. 
The Texas Chute Out has loomed over the horizon of Six Flags since 1976.   That was about the time that Six Flags became my summer hangout. 
After my mother died in 1975 my dad would load up my sister and I and bring us from our home in Tennessee to visit all of his family here in Arlington.  After the shock of losing our mother so quickly to cancer our world was reeling.  Coming to Texas where we had a large family of cousins, aunt and uncle and grandmother was wonderful.   And back then Texas was exotic to us TN girls.  Taco Bell, Braums ice cream, snow cone stands!  So many things we didn't have at home.  And since I was almost as tall as my aunt, I got to shop from her closets before going back home every year. 
When I was about 12 or 13 my dad started leaving us here when his one week's vacation was over and we would spend the rest of the summer and fly home just before school started. 
My cousin Maryann was situated in age exactly between my sister and I who were 6 years apart.  Long before anyone thought of abductions, assaults or encountering any wrongdoing at a theme park, the three of us were let loose at Six Flags armed with a few dollars and hours to ride to our hearts content.  We would be dropped off in the morning when the park opened and usually get picked up right after lunch for a quick run home for sandwiches, cleaner non-sweaty clothes and then back to the park to stay until dark.  
Our days were one continuous loop of rides, Pink Thing ice creams, rides.  When it was finally dark we would make our way out of the park exhausted.  Right outside the park gates there was always a little Baird's Bakery stand handing out hot mini loaves of bread to those leaving the park.  Such a random thing to be handing out.   And either my uncle or my dad, or both, would be sitting in the car waiting for us listening to the Texas Rangers baseball game which was being played right down the street. 
In the summer of 1981 when I was in high school and one of the last summers I spent in Texas there was a terrible heat wave.  Daily temperatures of well over 100 degrees didn't stop the three of us from going to the park.  I remember that was the first time to see water stations throughout the park handing out water to keep people hydrated.   But we were young and invincible and didn't need water.  We just ran like always.  I remember standing in line for the Shock Wave, the largest roller coaster in the park at that time.  It was still new and always had a long, long line.  (Today it's outdated and you can walk right on.)   It was 115 degrees that day.  Maryann, who was thin as a rail and never ate, keeled over right there in line.  Passed out from the heat.  So that was the day we got to see the first aid area of Six Flags. 
The Texas Chute Out was always a big draw too.  Getting strapped in to what seemed a flimsy little 2 seat basket and then whooshed up to the top before free falling back down.  Just enough excitement without the fear of the bigger rides. 
Those were such great times!  Not a care in the world.  Three little girls running free with no worries about anyone bothering them.   
This year was the first year we have felt safe letting  Madison go to Six Flags all day with only her friends.   Times change.   This was also the first year that we have gotten season passes to Six Flags for our family.  Since moving here in 2007 we've been going regularly but this year we got there much more than ever.  And I always relive some of those memories every trip we take to the park.    Cullen and I have a running joke every time we are walking in through the same familiar arched entrance.  I'll lean down to him and point to the sidewalk and say, "did you know that when I was a kid they gave away FREE BREAD right over there?"  He just laughs and says, "YES!  You've told me a thousand times!" 
Last year they replaced the famous cherry Pink Thing ice cream on a stick with a generic cotton candy push up.  That was sad.  But I see there's a Facebook page dedicated to getting the original brought back.   
Six Flags is such an important part of my childhood and I'm glad that we live here now and in a small way it's becoming a part of my kids childhood as well. 
Those summers feel like a very long time ago.  Maryann was killed in a traffic accident 16 years ago and I don't really have a relationship with my sister any more.  So the threesome is gone.  But oh, such great memories that I have been reliving every time I go to Six Flags with my kids.


Here's the video from today's implosion/fall.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Giant Granny Square Blanket - Finished!

I started this Giant Granny on the night of the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics and worked on it all through the Olympics then when they were over, it went into hibernation for about a month.   

I got it back out a couple of weeks ago and added a few more rows.  It is telling me it's done.  So, being the good listener that I am, I am calling it finished.  I haven't added any kind of border.   Just stopped after the gray round.  So, if it proves to need more umphh to it, I can just pick up and add some rounds. 

Coming in at about 50" square it's not a whopper or anything.  Just right for laying across the back of the couch waiting for some cold feet to come along.  This morming we woke up to near freezing temps here in TX (yay!) so I grabbed it to cuddle with my coffee until I was ready to face the day.  It's perfect for C. since his legs aren't so long. 

I used quite a few of my odd balls of worsted weight yarn.  Did not buy anything new.   I had absoluetely no plan for how the color order would go.  Just grabbed the next ball at the top of the pile after I finished a round.  But I love how it came together.  The colors riot but work together at the same time. 

I have already cast on for a knitted blanket for our home.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Another beautiful weekend in Texas. We are busy with baseball, shopping for cooler weather clothes and watching MLB playoffs on TV.  Our TX Rangers are out of the playoffs after a terrible loss on Friday.  So no 3rd straight trip to the World Series.  My boys are thinking about planning a trip to Surprise, AZ over spring break to see the Rangers at Spring Training. 

This is about the only time of year that I miss my home state of TN.  The intense change in colors of the leaves is so beautiful.  We just don't have that here in TX.  When I was a kid we almost always made a Fall trip up to the Smoky Mountains and Gatlinburg.  Oh I miss Gatlinburg in the Fall so much!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Here are just a few photos from the weekend.

Yay for temps in the 50's today. 

I love my new tea cup.

Lunch at Dairy Queen with my boys.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Won Ton Soup

~ This is a recipe I posted a long time ago on my old blog and I thought it was time to bring it back out since I still use it frequently ~

Green Tea Garden Gourmet WonTon Soup

(my version of a wonderful wonton soup we used to enjoy at the local chinese restaurant when we lived in California)

2 large boxes chicken broth or broth from cooking your chicken
4 cooked chicken breasts, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch bok choy, chopped
1 small carrot, slivered
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 small bag cooked shrimp
ground ginger and chinese five spice powder to taste
ground pepper to taste
1 package won ton wrappers

Put chicken broth in large stewpot (Use the boxed chicken broth or the broth from cooking your chicken).  Add remaining ingredients except won ton wrappers. Let simmer 20 minutes. Cut wonton wrappers into strips. Drop into simmering soup and serve.
Sometimes if time permits I chop another package of won ton wrappers into strips and quickly fry for crispy noodles to add to soup when eaten.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thankful Thursday

{Pine Lake, TN  2010}

Happy Thursday!  Or as we like to say ... you can see Friday from here.  Here are a few things I am especially thankful for on this beautiful fall Thursday.

*Beautiful weather -- today started out in the low 60's and is going to end up in the high 80's.  The thought of these type of days coming along are what keep us going all through the scorching hot Texas summers.

*Milestones - A teenager who got her first job yesterday!  Madison took the inititive and went into the new BBQ restaurant opening here in our town to get a job application.  The manager interviewed her and hired her on the spot.  She is over the moon excited. 

*A great job - I love my new job I started this past summer.  I have always gone back and forth about working and staying home.  I'm so "the grass is always greener" about it.  When I'm working I want to be at home and when I am at home I am bored and want to be working.  And I'm all or nothing.  I tried part time and it wasn't any better for me.  So I am back to working full time and I love it!  I think it's a mixture of kids being older, fantastic company I am working for and my own attitude.

*My health - Sometimes I feel like my body is older than my age.  Several factors have made for a stressful year healthwise for me.  I am learning to stop and take care of myself better.  I can't keel over just yet.

*New knitting group - I have known for a long time about this group that meets at the local coffee shop.  I've even joined their Ravelry group.  But until this summer I had never attended one of the Monday night knitting meetings.  I finally just showed up one night and they were so welcoming.  I still don't get there every week but try to steel away for a few hours of knitting, conversation and good coffee a couple of Monday's a month.  There are alot of spinners and dyers there so someone always has some new fiber freshly spun or dyed  for sale that somehow finds its way into my knitting bag.  Seriously, I think I've spent money on yarn every week I've gone!

So, what are you thankful for lately?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Game Ball

Cullen moved up from coach pitch to kid pitch in Little League baseball this fall season.  He loves it!  He is excelling at his position as catcher.   Last night he hit his first triple and got the game ball!
Playing baseball gives him so much self confidence he needs these days.  He has tried several sports the last few years including a couple of seasons here and there of Tball/baseball, hockey and soccer.  But I think he has found his niche with baseball. 
The games are hilarious to watch sometimes.  These are all kids who have never played kid pitch before.  So it's all walks and stolen bases.  There is a 5 run per inning limit.  This league is known for being very competitive, but we haven't had any negative experiences yet.  Our Rangers team is at the top of the standings in the 9 year old division. 
We are pretty proud of him for working hard on his skills and finding something he enjoys so much. 
Go Rangers!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Poppy's Chili

I could go on and on about my dad.  One day I will tell you all about him.  I'm not sure why I never called him dad or daddy, he's just always been Poppy.   My dad is a tried and true good old Texas cowboy.  And like every born and bred Texan, he has his own chili recipe.  This is simple but oh so good.   And please, if you decide to add beans, don't tell my dad.  Beans just don't belong in real Texas chili.


1 lb. lean hamburger meat
1 lb. lean ground pork
1 medium onion, chopped
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 large can tomato sauce
1 can tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
3 Tbsp. kosher salt
1 teas. red pepper, or to taste
2 teas. paprika
1 teas. oregano
3 teas. cumin
1/3 cup chili powder
1/2 teas. garlic salt
3 Tbsp. mesa flour

Brown meat with onion and pepper in large dutch oven.  When done, drain and return to dutch oven.  Add remaining ingredients except mesa flour.  Simmer on very low heat for a couple of hours.  Remove 1 cup of liquid into bowl.  Add mesa flour to liquid to make paste.  Return paste to chili and stir until dissolved and mixed into chili.
Serve with crackers and shredded cheese. 
*This chili is about twice as good on the second day.  I always make my chili one day and put it up and eat it the next day. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Our Weekend

Cullen on the mountain at Ecofest

 Go Rangers!  Waiting to steal home.  Cullen loves being in kid-pitch this season! 

After a month hiatus, I picked up my Giant Granny Square afghan again.  I still love how this is progressing.  I just keep adding rounds and it just keeps getting bigger.

I read the other day a blog entry from a friend who shared that she wished she had blogged about more of the everyday stuff when her kids were smaller so that now she might be able to look back and remember how life was at any given time.  Since I am an epic failure at Project Life and any other memory keeping effort right now, I thought I would document a small slice of our weekend, even if it's just crappy Iphone photos.  It won't always be like this so I want to remember. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Jordana Paige Craft Butler

Recently Blair over at Wisecraft blog held a giveaway of one of Jordana Paige's new Craft Butler.  And guess what!  I won!  I was so excited this week to get this happy mail.  Even the box was nice with a personal note from Jordana Paige.   

The back of the box showed a diagram of the possible ways to use it.

I had my choice of colors and I picked the red one.

This is before I filled it up with my crochet hooks, circular needles, tapestry needles, little scissors, and more.

I love having this to keep with my sewing basket and know that everything I need is all contained in one place.  It is just the right size even to throw in my bag to take with me for crafting on the go. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Another month of our lives captured by Instagram.
{Sitting in the outfield at a Rangers game, Madison got all her hair chopped off for Junior year, Cullen playing catcher at baseball practice, one last trip to the water park before summer is over, Friday night date with my favorite boy, Greg and Cullen building a playhouse/fort in the backyard, another trip to the Snowcone stand, Snowcone stand at the Airhogs game, new pair of socks in progrss}

Monday, September 17, 2012

Legoland Discovery Center

Last month we went to the Legoland Discovery Center here in Dallas to celebrate Cullen's birthday with a couple of his friends.  It's always a great day of fun when we go.  Besides the obvious shopping opportunities to be had, there's Miniland.  A whole display of iconic Dallas landmarks all in Legos.  There's the American Airlines Center where the Dallas Mavericks and Stars play.  There's Rangers Stadium and even a small rodeo with moving horses. Up on the top right is Southfork Ranch from the TV show Dallas.  (I took that picture just for Becki!)   There are rides, 3D movies and of course, tons of Legos to play with.  We had a great time and topped off the day with a late lunch at Rainforest Cafe. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fried Pickles

Since it's almost time for the Texas State Fair and our state fair is famous for it's yearly fried food competitions, I am sharing my method for making a popular snack, Fried Pickles.  These are a popular Sunday afternoon snack around here. 

As usual ....I don't profess to have any revolutionary recipes.  I am sure everyone has some of the same ideas and recipes. I just put them here so that I know where to find them when I am looking for them again.

Fried Pickles

1 jar dill pickle slices or chips
3 eggs
3 teas. water
3-4 drops hot sauce
1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 teas. salt
1 teas. ground pepper
2 teas. paprika
1/2 teas. cayenne pepper
3 cups canola oil

Drain pickles.

In first bowl beat eggs, water and hot sauce.

In second bowl mix all dry ingredients.

Heat oil in shallow skillet.

Dredge pickles in egg wash then in dry mix.  Fry until golden brown.  I drain mine on a paper towel lined wire rack so they stay crispy. 

Serve with ranch dressing.  I like to make the Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing from mix and add some cayenne pepper and paprika. 

 A note:  I've tried these with dill spears instead of the smaller slices or chips and they aren't as good in our opinion.  Not enough batter to pickle ratio. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Leftover Yarn Socks

I love buying sock yarn.  I have made baby hats out of some of it.  But I don't always get motivated to make socks.  But recently I've been knitting socks again!  Then, a few weeks ago I saw this and since then  I've been thinking about using some of my leftover sock yarn for a pair of hodgepodge socks. 
These have about 10 different yarns in them.  There is absolutely no rhyme or reason to the stripes.  Just totally random based on how much yarn I had of each kind.  I still have plenty of leftovers.  Like Kristen at Cozy Things blog, I think I will just keep making single socks until it's all used up.  Then I will have a whole pile of socks that don't really match but are great for wearing around the house.
I've already cast on for my next pair of socks.  Pink and peachy stripes. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband.   Seventeen years together.  He is a great husband, dad, friend and goofball I could ask for.    He must be a saint to put up with me sometimes.
We are celebrating by going to a Texas Rangers baseball game this afternoon with Cullen.  Nothing fancy but that's just the way we like it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Today Cullen turns 9.  He's certainly not a baby anymore in his eyes.  But to me he is still the last minute, "maybe we should have one more", "I'm not too old for one more" baby.  After having the perfect little girl who was so easy, it never occured to me that another one wouldn't be exactly the same.  Wow was I in for a shock.  I remember Greg, Madison and I going to the ultrasound to find out what the baby was going to be and it never had even occured to me that it wouldn't be another girl.  Really I hadn't!  When they said boy I was shocked.  Greg and Madison were excited but I remember going to lunch afterwards and feeling shock and not wanting to eat.  Then, when we was born at almost 9lbs. with a head of SHOCKINGLY red hair I thought well, he's so cute, he must be perfect.  But I should have known this one was going to give me a run when he wouldn't sleep, wouldn't eat, had several medical problems early on and just kept us moving all the time.   And nine years later he is still keeping us on our toes. This child has seen the inside of several ER's.  He never takes the easy road to anything.  But he is also completely happy in his own skin.  He is quirky.  I tell people he is either keeping me young or killing me.  Depends on the day. 

Now he is 9.  Ready to start 3rd grade.  Starting another season of baseball and VERY excited about moving up to kid-pitch.  His love for Legos still hasn't wavered.  He has a group of boys all his age on our street and they have had a great summer playing from one house to the next.  He still refuses to learn to swim, hates getting his hair cut and wants to wear the same pair of shorts every day. 

He gets up in the morning and has to have his morning cuddle with mom before he starts his day.  I joke that he will never leave me cause he's all mine.  We are just alike in looks and termperment. 

I like to think what a boring world it would be around here without our Culleybear.  He's pretty great and we will be celebrating him this weekend with a trip to Legoland Discovery Center, a TX Rangers game and probably another fifty thousand new legos coming into my house.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Lunchbox Notes

I love putting notes in my son's lunchbox.  My daughter's too occasionally but she thinks she's too old for them.  I found some today that are perfect!

Some of you might already be shopping at Paper Coterie.   If you aren't, you should be!  I have gotten some awesome custom products from this website.  These are some of the pages from a calendar I had made for the grandmothers one Christmas.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I just love when it's time for the Olympics!  Don't you?  We sat glued to our couch last weekend from Opening Ceremonies straight through to Sunday night.  My boys like seeing the USA Basketball team.  I like the swimming and beach volleyball.  Of course it makes you feel so lazy sitting on the couch watching these people in such good shape.  Thankfully, the feeling passes quickly! 

I am participating in Ravelry's Ravellenic Games, which documents knitting and crocheting done during Olympic watching.    I hope to get at least a couple of new things either finished or well on their way to finished.   During the Opening Ceremonies I started this Giant Granny Square Blanket.

I used some scraps but went on a small shopping trip to Michael's last week and bought about 6 skeins of new yarn in some cute colors.  I am thinking I'll need a few more since each row is starting to take a big chunk of a skein!  Not sure how big it's going to be.  I guess I will just stop when it seems right.

I have been working on this knitted cowl in jazzy green on and off for a while.  I keep putting it aside thinking it's a long time off until cowl weather.  It's hard to think about keeping my neck warm when it's 108 degrees outside.  But it's time to get it finished so I think I'll work on it after the giant granny. 

What is your favorite event in the Olympics?

Monday, July 9, 2012


Since starting my new job I am falling woefully behind on my Granny Sampler.  I have each week's patterns printed out and have at least one or two for each week done but I need to work on them some more.  Some of the patterns are getting a little more intricate so I need to concentrate a little more.   In the meantime I started this brightly colored blanket which is a little more no-brainer and works for little snippets of time in front of the TV or in the car riding somewhere.   Just a design as I go Granny Square based blanket in some bright yarn that caught my eye at Michaels. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Fourth of July

I know I am late, but hope everyone had a wonderful holiday this past week. We had a low key day with some grilling, watermelon and sparklers. We went to our city's annual fireworks display and it was wonderful as usual.